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Bartle signals intent to keep one foot in the industry

Footwear veteran Ken Bartle has not ruled out pursuing other opportunities in the industry after he retires from his chief executive role at Jones Bootmaker next week.

Bartle, whose official last day with the footwear retailer is February 29, told Drapers he would not retain any interest in Jones Bootmaker in terms of shares in the business or as a consultant.

“I should have retired last April when Macintosh [Retail Group] acquired the business,” said Bartle. “I agreed to stay on until a managing director could be appointed but now it is definitely time for me to go.”

Bartle said that, after taking a few holidays, he would look for other opportunities in footwear together with former Jones Bootmaker chairman Peter Phillips, who he worked with on the purchase of the retailer from Prada in 2001.

He added: “We both have non-competitor agreements with Macintosh that still have another year left to run, but after that I wouldn’t rule out looking at other things.”

Jones Bootmaker chief operating officer Andrew White will assume the role of managing director with immediate effect.

Bartle said: “Andrew has been with the business for 25 years, so I know I’m leaving it in very safe hands. It will be good for the new owners to have someone at the helm who doesn’t have a whole load of ownership history behind them, like I do.”

Bartle said he expected the retailer would open about eight stores this year, although he would not be drawn on locations.

He said it would close about two stores due to town centre redevelopments. One of these, in Newbury, Berkshire, has already closed.

Jones Bootmaker is also planning to relaunch its website on a new platform later this year.

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